Jose Fernandez was popping the catcher’s mitt at Marlins Park on Friday, and he wasn’t even letting it rip.
“The ball is coming out of my hand incredible,” Fernandez said after completing just his second throwing session in his comeback from Tommy John surgery. “I’m just excited to get a ball in my hand and let it go again.”
Fernandez threw a baseball Wednesday for the first time since undergoing elbow ligament replacement surgery in May. On Friday, he ramped it up just a bit more in front of reporters.
“I have never felt this good ever,” he said. “The ball is coming out of my hand effortlessly.”
But Fernandez cautioned that as good as his arm feels now, he’ll be careful about trying to do too much too soon. The Marlins don’t expect to have him back on the mound for them until sometime next season.
“Obviously, it’s a slow process,” Fernandez said. “And I’m really happy it’s a slow process because I want to be here for a long time. I don’t want to become the first to come back from Tommy John, and then get hurt again.”
But last year’s National League Rookie of the Year was clearly excited to be throwing the ball again.
On Friday, he threw to team trainer Sean Cunningham. He totaled 25 throws – 10 at 30 feet and another 15 at 45 feet. Fernandez said he’ll remain on a Monday-Wednesday-Friday throwing schedule for the time being.
Asked when he thought he’d begin throwing off a mound, Fernandez joked: “Tomorrow.”
He then added, “I wish.”
Fernandez probably won’t begin throwing off mound until after the first of the year.
“I’m just going with the flow, whatever the doctor says, and go step by step,” Fernandez said. “But I’m thrilled to be back on the field and have a ball in my hand.”